England

A story of 3 Willies

King Billy’s heritage – Ireland – Early 1700’s

They call themselves Dissenters and often oppose the Crown.

Gugliemo III d'Orange, in olandese Willem Hendrik van Oranje-Nassau, anche noto come Guglielmo III d'Inghilterra, Guglielmo II di Scozia e Guglielmo I d'Irlanda, fu Principe d’Orange, Conte di Nassau ..

William of Orange, in dutch Willem Hendrik van Oranje-Nassau, also known as William III of England,William II of Scotland, WIlliam I of Ireland, was also The Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau,Baron of Breda,Statolder d’Olanda, Zelanda, Utrecht, Gheldria, Overijssel e Drenthe and many other names not mentionable here…

With the death in 1702 of King William III of England and Scotland, he left a legacy  in Ireland as a Protestant Nation where his supporters in the religious battles of the last decade are now in the ascendancy, and his Catholic opponents are the targets of marginalization and penalization.

The Irish parliament is also under William’s thumb, and they must disavow themselves of Catholic doctrines. For their allegiance to Catholic King James II, the Irish Catholics were disarmed, their bishops banished. Penal laws were introduced to strengthened the position of the English Protestants in power, and reduce the Irish Catholics to impotent servants.
In this era:

  • Catholics are not permitted to vote
  • Marry a Protestant
  • Join the armed force
  • Possess arms even for protection
  • Be educated abroad as Catholics

They wera about 70% of the population of around 2 million, yet they owned only 5% of the land.
Farming in Ireland
The farming although overseen by the advantaged English Protestants, is farmed by the greatly disadvantaged Irish Catholics and is woefully inefficient.

Protestants can will property to their one eldest son, maintaining the large estate size, whereas Catholics are forced to divide properties among all male heirs and over time their lands shrink into tiny plots. Protestant land owners often live in England, lease their farms to ‘squireens’ who further subdivide the expensive yet unimproved land to Catholic tenants.

There is little incentive to make land improvements as this increases the value and therefore the rent. The result is frequent food production shortfalls. In 1729 Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and anonymous pamphleteer, publishes “A Modest Proposal” — a sharp satire of the Irish predicament, suggesting the rich should eat the children of the poor, to the benefit of both parties. His works lead economic criticism from 1713-1745.

The situation is different in the northern province of Ulster. It had already been colonized by Scottish and English Protestants over the last century and faired better than the three southern ones due to its unique linen trade.

Linen production
Brought by French Huguenot refugees, was an exception in the Irish economy. Due to severe trade restrictions, any commodity that competed with England could not be exported.

(Not all were Hugenots, The Wolfendens of Lambeg origins are Olde English. There was in the 16th century a hamlet in Lancashire called ‘Wolfendene’, forming part of the parish of Newchurch-in-Rossendale. It would seem that Wolfendale, the surname, is a localised dialectal transposition of the hamlet name. The name translates as ‘the valley of Wulfhelm’, the later being an early baptismal name of the pre 9th century.

Linen alone had no significant English producers.  As are all provinces of Ireland, Ulster is subject to religious persecutions of her non-Church of England inhabitants. Although her Catholic population had been largely displaced, Scottish Presbyterians are also forced to accept the English Church and many suffer exclusion from civil service and the military from 1704-1718. Although most restrictions are eventually lifted, Presbyterians must still recognize the dominance of the English Church and pay tithes. They call themselves Dissenters and often oppose the Crown.

English Protestant landowners enjoy renewed peace and prosperity, build great mansions and expand their estates. In 1714 the Georgian Era begins when George I takes the throne of the United Kingdom (so called when England swallowed Scotland in 1702). He continues to strengthen the parliament by his disinterest in ruling and over the next few decades, the power of parliamentary government overshadows the monarchy. In 1720, the British parliament passes the Sixth of George I Act allowing it to pass legislation in Ireland without the agreement of the Irish parliament.

While Irish Protestants take advantage of their privileged position, some look enviously to the British gentry and yearn for control of their own parliament again.

The Irish Soldier

Singing and Fighting for the English

The shamrock as lost, and the shamrock has won.
………………
………………
What do you think of the Irish now.

What do you think of the Irish now

What Paddy gave the drum

There never was a row but what the Irishmen were there

Soldiers of the Irish Guards photographed soon after the foundation of the regiment in 1900.
Soldiers of the Irish Guards photographed soon after the foundation of the regiment in 1900.

'What do you think of the Irish now?', song sheet, 1901

‘What do you think of the Irish now?’

The Victorian historian, Macaulay, called Ireland ‘an inexhaustible nursery of the finest soldiers’. As early as the 13th century, English kings had recruited Irish soldiers to fight for them in Wales. By 1832, Irishmen formed 42% of the non-commissioned ranks of the British Army and many Protestant Irishmen served as officers. In 1871, nearly a quarter of army officers were Irish. Ireland is still a recruiting ground for the British army but, in 1972, only about 6% of the army was Irish born.
Poverty, rather than an inherent war-like disposition, may have fuelled recruitment.
Many Irishmen, or men of Irish descent, fought in the Boer War, although some thought that in a conflict between the British Empire and a small nation fighting for its independence they should be helping the other side.Mick Gallagher at the Front ed. RA Scott Macfie (Liverpool, 1900) tells the story of one Liverpool Irishman in South Africa.
In the major conflicts of the 20th century, including the Boer War and the First World War, a number of Irish battalions were formed in areas of significant Irish settlement, such as London, Liverpool and Tyneside, although recruitment was not confined to those of Irish birth or descent. On Tyneside in 1914, four battalions of 5,500 men – the ‘Tyneside Irish’ – were formed within two months as the 24-27th and 30th Battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

Announcement of the formation of the Tyneside Irish and application form - Newcastle Chronicle 30 October 1914

Announcement of the formation of the Tyneside Irish and application form –Newcastle Chronicle 30 October 1914

War Diary of the 24th Northumberland Fusiliers, 1 July 1916

War Diary of the 24th Northumberland Fusiliers, 1 July 1916

A Lewis gunner of the 12th battalion Royal Irish Rifles opens fire on a German aircraft, February 1918.

A Lewis gunner of the 12th battalion Royal Irish Rifles opens fire on a German aircraft, February 1918.

The Tyneside Irish Brigade by Joseph Keating, which was published in 1917, lists the names of all the officers and men who joined at the start. Irish Heroes in the War, part of the same volume, includes a short biographical account of servicemen who had been awarded the Victoria Cross in the war – including both Irish born and those born in mainland Britain to Irish parents.The Tyneside Irish battalion took part in the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916, and suffered massive casualties. Among those killed were Pte Joseph Rooney; Pte John McCartney; Pte Pat Quinn; Pte M Hanley and Capt Fred L Vernon.

Ireland – A history of violence

So many years of fighting can’t just stop. Things take time. And maybe someday the “wars” in Ireland will stop and the Irish people can live on. Live on in peace but with a history of violence that will not ever disappear.

“He died for his country.
You should be proud”.
But what proud is there in burying your son?

wwi-homing-pigeons[1]

Death and destruction are not things we have grown up side by side with, but in Ireland this is the merciless truth for many people.
Children growing up seeing their fathers and older brothers dying in battle for Ireland. Children getting killed while playing in the streets by lose bullets from street fights.
People fighting for their country. Dying for their country.
But this battle or war – the battle between Ireland and England, Catholics and Protestants, South and North or perhaps good and evil as some Irishmen would put it – has been going on way too long.
But people still fight like they have been doing it in so many years now. Will we not ever see the end of all this?

But people have always been fighting. For survival. For honour. For leadership. For respect. For power. For justice. For freedom. Why should this be any different. People are still fighting each other like people have been doing in all history of mankind.
But the fights in Ireland are somehow different. This will not stop until England lets go of Ireland and Ireland gets to be completely independent. Until this people will still be fighting.
Fathers will still be burying their sons.
Wives – their husbands.
Parents – their children.
And people will still be saying, “He died for his country. You should be proud”. But what proud is there in burying your son?

Like the story “Pigeons”, by Michael McLaverty, where we are following little Frankie whose big brother, Johnny, goes to fight for Ireland and die. Little Frankie is taking over the pigeons from Johnny and in that way perhaps also the duty of fighting for Ireland.
The whole family is mourning and people are telling them that, “It’s a glorious thing, to die for Ireland, to die for Ireland!”, and that they should be proud. But what is there to be proud about for a father who just lost his oldest son?
But this is or was Ireland. Sons dying for Ireland, fathers dying for Ireland, and people telling the families to be proud.
In the story a priest also says, “The police! The police! They don’t love their country. They serve England. England, my boys! The England that chased our people to live in the damp bogs. The England that starved our ancestors till they had to eat grass and nettles by the roadside.”, which is a good indicator of how the people maybe felt it. Forced to live of nothing because of England.
People hating England and everything about England. And people feeling that the things there was against them, like the police, also were servants of England.

Peace hasn’t been achieved yet. People today still die of terrorist attacks of IRA or in fights between the police and the nationalists.
Ireland is a country with a history of violence. Violence has been and still is a everyday thing and it has affected many lives. Too many lives. This is unfortunately the pure truth of Ireland.
People fighting for dream and dying for a dream. The dream of an independent Ireland. People keep getting killed – and the dream goes on with more hate against England and the people who support England.

So many years of fighting can’t just stop. Things take time. And maybe someday the “wars” in Ireland will stop and the Irish people can live on. Live on in peace but with a history of violence that will not ever disappear.

Source http://www.reschat.dk/stile/2-2.doc